Monday, 20 May 2013

15 May: China and Brazil in African Agriculture - news roundup

By Henry Tugendhat

Brazil candidate to lead WTO
Roberto Azevêdo has been appointed as the new director of the World Trade Organisation, making him the first from Latin America and the second the Global South. His career to date has mainly involved roles in Brazilian economic affairs, most recently based in Geneva as a representative at the WTO and other economic organisations. His first task as director will be convening the WTO’s next ministerial meeting in Bali this December.
(The Guardian / /

Embrapa-CIAT sign new agreement
 Brazil’s agricultural research centre Embrapa has signed a collaborative agreement with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to widen the scope for joint research to be used primarily in Latin America, the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa. There are currently 29 SSA countries with research centres in CIAT’s network and below is a link describing their activities in the region
(CIAT blog / CIAT SSA activities [pdf download])

Brazil collaboration with Ghana’s Ministry of Chieftaincies and Traditional Affairs
The Brazilian ambassador to Ghana visited the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs where they discussed land use and agriculture. This is the first time a Brazilian official has visited the ministry. They also discussed increasing cultural exchanges between the two countries.
(Ghana Business news)

Olam to increase investments in Mozambican Cotton
Olam’s Mozambique subsidiary has stated that it plans to make “large investments” in Mozambique’s cotton production. No further details on this are given, but the article highlights that Olam already has production agreements with 70,000 producers in the provinces of Manica, Tete, Nampula and Zambezia and in 2012 exported 15,000 tons of cotton. It is also the biggest distributor of rice in the country.

Ghana to export cassava chips to China
The Ghanaian government has recently signed an agreement for the exportation of more than 1 million tons of cassava chips to China over the next five years. The move has been praised by the Ayensu Cassava Farmers Association (ACFA) and exports are expected to from all ten regions in Ghana.
(Ghana News Agency)

Pre-meeting workshop on hunger eradication
From June 30-July 2, a high level meeting on hunger eradication will take place in Addis Ababa, put together by the FAO, African Union (AU), Lula Institute, and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Last week (May 7-9) a workshop was held ahead of the conference to agree on the agenda. It was attended by officials from the participating groups and some media outlets suggested that Chinese representatives might also have been present.
China and Latin America establish $50m agriculture fund
Officials from China and more than 20 Latin American countries met in Santiago, Chile to set up a new $50m fund to promote food security on the continent. Money would be channelled towards eight research and development centres in the region and a 500,000-ton joint food reserve for humanitarian aid.
(The BRICS post)

Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway
China has agreed to finance a railway project stretching 750km between Ethiopia and Djibouti with $3.3 billion. The line will be constructed by the China Railway Engineering Corporation and China Civil Engineering Corporation. Brazilian companies are also reported to be involved in other Ethiopian rail projects.
(Bikya news)

Increased use of the RMB in China-Africa trade
HSBC has recently been promoting the use of the RMB for South African transactions with China. The Chinese state has been keen to push for the RMB to be a reserve currency since the crisis and has set 2017 as its target for the internationalisation of the currency. The report highlights increased use already picking up momentum worldwide and Standard Bank has supported this analysis with the prediction that 40% of China-Africa transactions might be conducted in the RMB by 2015.
(Mail & Guardian, SA / Ventures Africa)

Indian agricultural investments in Africa
This article reviews a recent IFPRI paper on Indian land acquisitions in Africa that were supported by the government in a bid to increase food grains production. Countries involved in these deals include Ghana and Ethiopia, the latter of the two being one of the largest recipients of such private investment - an estimated €1.75bn by 80 Indian companies.

China and Brazil in African Agriculture Project webpage